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Posts Tagged ‘Product Placement’

Maisto “Sons of Anarchy” 1:18 Scale Bikes

Maisto “Sons of Anarchy” 1:18 Scale Bikes

There is now the Sons Of Anarchy collection of die-cast motorcycles.

Back in December, Maisto announced they worked closely with 20th Century Fox and Harley-Davidson to bring fans of the show 1:18 scale die-cast versions of the SOA motorcycles in association with the TV show characters: Jax, Clay, Opie and JT – the SOA Motorcycle Collection.

Not only can you now dress and ride like SOA outlaws, thanks to a flurry of licensing deals that includes everything from actual motorcycles at Bartel’s H-D to hats, games, stationary, jewelry, calendars, stickers, wall graphics and more.   Now while sitting in your work cube thinking about the winter cold you can have your very own die-cast outlaw motorcycle to stare at and think about how you can’t wait to ride in warmer weather!

The Maisto brand name was registered in 1990 by May Cheong, a vertically integrated manufacturer based in Hong Kong. The company has been manufacturing die cast replicas for over 40 years.  They have over 11,000 employees worldwide, and manufacturing facilities covering more than 2 Million square feet.

Sons Of Anarchy merchandise sales have grown 70% year-to-year since 2010.  This is not a U.S. only concept as the TV show is a hit in U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands.  And with the TV show committed through a seventh season merchandise sales will only increase.

Previous SOA/H-D license deals blog post HERE.

Photo courtesy of Maisto, 20th Century Fox and Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Limited edition Son’s of Anarchy motorcycles

I called this back in 2009 with a post called Bottling Ideas.  UPDATE: Actually now that I’ve re-scanned the blog it was even earlier with a post in 2008 called Harley SAMCRO Limited Edition Motorcycle HERE.

I’m talking about the FX television series “Son’s of Anarchy (SOA)“, and a new deal with Harley-Davidson for custom motorcycles made by 20th Century Fox Consumer Products as part of a flurry of licensing deals for SOA that includes clothing, leather jackets, hats, t-shirts, games, calendars, stationary and much more.

Thanks to Bartels’ Harley-Davidson the bike maker will produce 100 limited edition Son’s of Anarchy motorcycles that will retail for about $25,000 each at Harley dealers this fall.   Now TV viewers can further tap into the motorcycle club fantasy… who doesn’t want to pretend to be a ‘clubber’ and ride a faux outlaw biker motorcycle, right?

I can’t think of another TV show that cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is a taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product for the rebellious and the dispossessed.  If ever there was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador it would be Kurt Sutter’s (@sutterink), Son’s of Anarchy!

SOA is about to enter its fifth season, and is now the most-watched show in its history among total viewers 18-49. The most recent season the show averaged 5.5 million viewers per episode. It was also the number three DVD release among TV shows in 2011.  And after growing online merchandise sales for FX’s top-rated show about 70 percent year-to-year since 2010, Fox is shifting to brick and mortar retailers like Spencer Gifts, Transworld/FYE and Hastings.

I wouldn’t be honest if I failed to mention that this feels like a disaster for any person who rides to a rally thinking they’ll have instant club admiration.  However, it could be shrewd marketing of misbehavior and we’ll see a formal offering from the motor company every year!  Any of the “noise” generated in the press and blogosphere helps in terms of show profile, helps H-D reinforce how the middle finger of rebellion built the brand.  And isn’t that all that matters in the end?!

I don’t have a Kurt Sutter man-crush, but he does deserve a big shout-out for remaining true to the setting in the TV show without becoming stereotypical.  We know it’s hard work compared to the Laffing Devils crap the Discovery Channel is trying to pass off as good TV.

Here are some previous SOA blog posts made over the years: OMG New Media Darlings; Men of MayhemBikes, Bullets & Brawls; Mail Room of LifeBottling Ideas; Be Good & You’re Lonely; Sutter Shout Out; Season 3 IdeasWorking The SOA Trail

Photo courtesy of SOA and RatRodStudios.com.

All Right Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley-Davidson has always held a certain fascination for the monied elite, from Wall Street bankers to Middle Eastern oil sheiks.  They all ride on the essence of the freedom brand.  Since the motor company jettisoned more employees over the holidays it’s now dabbling in a bit of capital resource-allocation and looking for Hollywood’s crucial role in revitalizing the companies pop culture standing. 

We live in a world of brands.  Think Zoo York t-shirts, or Jukijama sneakers.  It’s a thirst for fame. 

Savvy celebs are trying to fuse entertainment and social networking, closing the gap between performer and fan. Even hip-hop “musician’s” using their often limited musical footprint to expand into merch have far exceeded t-shirts and turned to alcohol concoctions to sell “cool”.  So, can we really blame Harley-Davison for flexing their marketing muscle and trying to close the gap with youth in order to survive?

The key is authenticity. 

Harley-Davidson has to choose associations that are credible and organic if they wish to succeed.  Why?  Because the essence of Harley-Davidson is freedom—outfitting confident individuals to assert their true independence.  All their products under the brand reflect this rock-solid individuality.  It’s like an Armani suit.  Sure, you could say it’s part of your wardrobe, but it’s more than just a business suit.  It’s a state of mind. 

In the latest example of cementing their mainstream outreach Harley-Davidson has joined up with Marvel on the official 2012 The Avengers movie promotion.  You can watch the official Avengers movie trailer (HERE).  Little information is available on exactly what the promotion is, but here is a sign-up page (HERE) to enter information and become one of the first fans to know about the promotion.

If you’re thinking this is déjà vu all over again.  You’re right!  Marvel previously partnered with Harley-Davidson on Captain America: The First Avenger movie.  Captain America rode a Harley-Davidson replica of the “Liberator”, a classic H-D motorcycle that was used by U.S. Service Men and Women during World War II.   For the Captain America promotion, Harley-Davidson launched an interactive site and ran a sweepstakes with a customized H-D motorcycle as one of the prizes. They even made Captain America posters available at dealers, and auctioned off a bike signed by the Hollywood elite in the movie to benefit Disabled American Veterans.

For The Avengers, maybe they’ll be riding a new CVO Road Glide?!  The teaser states “You could be immortalized in Harley-Davidson and Marvel’s, The Avengers history.”  Are we talking about funeral’s and a headstone?!

If so, maybe we need to lean into those $10,000 imported padded shoulders of that Armani suit because just like The Avenger it serves as a defensive role and deflects nearly all ill-infused assaults from all manner of scumbags, hangers on, wannabees and true movie biz powerhouses.

Photos courtesy of Marvel and H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Happy New Years!

Now that the champagne toasts are made and the ball dropped, it’s time to start thinking ahead:  What’s your riding resolution for this year?  Will you ride your motorcycle more often to work?  Take that epic journey or stay close to home?  Will you buy a new ride or enhance the existing one?

Before going forward let’s take a quick look back.

Over the years I’ve posted the occasional summary of the more popular and least liked stories from the past 12 months.  It’s not my “helper-monkey”, but the good folks at WordPress.com state their rankings algorithm is based on how many people read a particular article.  The average is the sum of views divided by the number of days and its gets even more complex if you are the sort of person who likes to verify computations.  I don’t.

The final tallies can be a little mystifying, to be honest.

Are readers giving a “thumbs-up” because they liked the content of the article or just the topic itself?  I don’t find these summaries a really useful exercise because some of the better written articles (IMHO) will sometimes have the fewest views.  It’s the old adage that writing about or reposting the nip slips, exposed undies and ever-presence dysfunction from the celebrity train wrecks for the whole world to see will bring a whole lot more views if that’s your goal.  But, if nothing else, the summary does provide a snapshot of what struck in my readers’ collective fancy during the past year.

In 2011, I posted 88 new articles (about 7 per month).  That brought the total archive on this blog up to just over 800 posts.  I uploaded 165 pictures (or about 3 per week).  The busiest day was September 25th (during the Vagos and HAMC shooting in Reno) with 1,120 views on an article I posted in 2008 (HERE).  Clearly the social behavior and the attraction of the events in Reno was a big draw, but I’m mystified why the more current article (HERE) had fewer views?  Maybe it’s a SEO thing.  I also want to provide a shout-out to the large number of UK viewers who consistently visit the blog.

Here are the 2011 most viewed highlights:

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Flying Colors in Oregon
OCC Family Feud Ends
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Are New Media Darlings
Vagos MC Meeting In Grants Pass
Harley SAMCRO Limited Edition Motorcycle
Harley-Davidson’s SwitchBack
Vintage Motorcycles – Honda CB750
Harley Engine History
“Green Nation” Busts On Saint Patrick’s Day
No Angel
The Day Laughlin River Run Changed
Men Of Mayhem
A “Legend Bell” Full of Mystery
Harley Snubbed In Benjamin Button Movie
Operation Black Rain Nets Oregon Mongols

I enjoyed this past year—and I hope you have, too.  If I’ve done my “job” right as editor of this blog, then your visits will have helped make your motorcycle hobby a bit more meaningful.  Hopefully you’ve become closer to your motorcycle and grown your relationship with friends that you’ve met on the road.

Happy 2012!

Photo’s courtesy of WordPress.com and Northwest Harley Blog.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Not the “Captain” you were thinking.

It’s called product placement and I’ve blogged about it previously HERE and HERE.  It’s all about socializing Harley-Davidson on the big screen.

Sure we know that Harley-Davison has used product placement in the past, but these days it’s up to the Davie Brown Entertainment Team to make sure it’s a core part of a marketing push into film/entertainment.  And as we’re told countless times each night on TV commercials… entertainment can sensationalize the excitement and thrill of riding a motorcycle to the point of moving people to the dealers to check it out, right?

Disregard that only 3% of the U.S. consumers own a motorcycle.  It’s the other 15-20 million individuals in the U.S. being targeted and the hope is to generate a desire to buy one. But, I’ve gotten way ahead of myself…

This bit all started at the outset of WWII, where the U.S. Government gave H-D an assignment.  Design a motorcycle that could withstand desert conditions. You see the Germans were already using a desert-ready BMW motorcycle in the North African campaign and we didn’t really have anything to respond.

Harley-Davidson’s response was the 1942 XA.  It had horizontally-opposed flat twin engine (750), a shaft final drive a hand operated clutch with foot-operated shifter and a “wet-sump” design circulated oil from the pan underneath the engine, protecting the oil from sand.  It also had heavy-cleated tires to provide traction against shifting terrain.  The contract was cancelled early due to war combat moving out of North Africa and only about a thousand XA’s were ever built.

It was also in about the same timeframe, during and around World War II that the Model WLA was produced to U.S. Army specifications.  Called the 45 solo type, due to its 45 cubic inches (740 cc) engine and single-rider design. The same engine, in a slightly lower state of tune, also powered the three-wheeled Servi-Car (the “G” family), leading to the “solo” distinction.  During World War II, Harley-Davidson produced and dispatched approximately 90,000 WLA motorcycles overseas to support the war effort. The motorcycle was affectionately known as the “Liberator” by U.S. Service Men and Women.

Private Robert J. Vance

Quick to recognize a product placement opportunity, H-D (via Davie Brown) worked with Marvel Studios to recreate five replica bikes which is tied in to the July 22nd release of Captain America: The First Avenger.  In addition, Harley Davidson has launched an interactive web site that showcases the hero’s vintage ride and offers fans a chance to win a one-of-a-kind custom motorcycle.  Cool.

Lastly, the northwest has something loosely connected with this movie…Private Robert J. Vance, from Portland, Oregon, had his photo taken while riding a motorcycle as a messenger of the 33rd Armored Regiment of the 3rd Armored Division in the fields of Normandy in late July, 1944 on a H-D WLA.

Photos courtesy of Marvel, H-D WLA Service Manual (large .pdf) and U.S. Army Signal Corps

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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SOA FXD Dyna Superglide

SOA FXD Dyna Superglide

I was flipping TV channels last night and landed on FX during a commercial.

Nothing so special about that… WAIT… they’re advertising a Sons of Anarchy custom Harley-Davidson FXD Dyna Superglide motorcycle with a Custom Reaper paint job!

THAT… idea seems very familiar.  Sure enough, I blogged last year about how H-D marketing ought to consider developing a SAMCRO Limited Edition motorcycle and now they are doing it.

I don’t know if Eagle’s Nest Harley-Davidson (13900 Harlan Road, Lathrop, CA) saw the post and acted on my idea, but they indeed developed a promotional giveaway campaign with the SOA producers and created a unique branding tie in to the television show.  In my view, that’s creative marketing!  Or rather its good strategic co-branding/partnering with the right ingredients that make sense for the manufacturer and producer.   Kudo’s H-D!

Before you haters get tripped up on this idea and launch a barrage of poser comments…  Let’s maintain perspective here as the “Reaper” bike is like co-branding NASCAR merchandise.  It’s an “ingredient brand” motorcycle that will appeal to enthusiasts who like and/or identify with the show.  Think about the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy 500 themed or co-branded pace cars with GM.  Just because you wear a race t-shirt and drive a 1989 Pontiac Trans-Am Pace Car does not make you an Indy 500 race car driver!

I’m sure anyone who rides the “Reaper Bike” knows who they are and what they are about and wouldn’t pass themselves off as a club affiliated biker.

Photo courtesy of SOA web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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wolverineWhenever I hear about product placement in movies I think about Wayne’s World. 

You remember… he’s eating Dominos and drinking Pepsi with Nike shoes as he comments on product placement while doing product placement. 

Scriptwriters needed to write an epic superhero piece on mankind’s downfall, while promoting American motorcycle heritage and culture.   Or at least avoid denigrating it!  No problem.  Enter Harley-Davidson placement rights to solve the issue with 20th Century Fox/Marvel’s newest X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman.  The movie release is May 1st and the stripped down Road King painted in matte black is set to hit the big screen.  Really it should be called product integration not placement.  The mutant character has to drive around so, why not get paid for making sure he drives a Harley motorcycle, right?!  In the last movie, the X-Men: The Last Stand a special edition V-Rod was used.  I’ve written about HD product placement previously HERE, HERE and HERE.

hugh_jWhen I watch this movie clip it makes me think how Marvel is going down the same path as DC did with the barrage of crap for sale in the Batman movies of the 90’s.  Sell to kids with toys, meals, video games, placements and marketing stunts.  Like so many before, this movie will be full of 12 year old fanboys hoping for a chance to win a special edition motorcycle!  As a lifestyle brand, I’m sure HD feels this will excite consumers around the world and bring style to purpose – meaning, sell motorcycles.

But, one issue for Harley is that the bikes are drastically modified and don’t match any current models.  Therefore, not really available for purchase.  At some point, marketers will have to figure out how many product placements per hour viewers are willing to tolerate before it defeats the purpose.  It’s becoming so prevalent that we can’t escape it by even taking a bathroom break.

So, let see…we’ve seen the meat-shaped-like-a-stick (Jerky) which comes in multiple flavors and is distributed in truck stops.  Next up for the aging demographic is Harley-Davidson pudding cups!  Oh yeah, tasty in butterscotch.

Photo courtesy Marvel and HD.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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